Why Does Someone Die From Alzheimer – Dementia is a gradual decline in brain function. It’s often called “memory decline,” but dementia affects the general functions of the brain, including the brain cells that control movement and swallowing.
The leading cause of death in adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For adults 65 or older, it’s 5
- 1 Why Does Someone Die From Alzheimer
- 2 Second Death Linked To Potential Antibody Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease
- 3 Newly Identified Genetic Variant Protects Against Alzheimer’s
- 4 Report Shares New Details About Death Possibly Linked To Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug
- 5 When Patients Choose To End Their Lives
Why Does Someone Die From Alzheimer
More information about the last stages of dementia before death helps to understand how dementia affects the cause of death.
Second Death Linked To Potential Antibody Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease
At diagnosis, most people are in the early or middle stages of dementia. People with early stage dementia may be somewhat forgetful, but still able to function in everyday life. They live independently; many are still working.
In middle-stage dementia, problems with memory and thinking become more pronounced. Others notice that the affected person can no longer function at peak efficiency. The symptoms become more pronounced as this stage progresses. Those who are sick can forget that they are eating. They may wander or get lost while walking a familiar route. Sleeping habits may change. It is not uncommon for people with middle-stage dementia to sleep during the day and sleep at night.
Eventually, dementia progresses to the point where they can no longer control their bowel and bladder functions. This loss of control is directly related to damage to the brain; cells that normally control these functions die. And as more and more cells die, symptoms get worse. In late-stage dementia, individuals may lose the ability to walk and talk. Eating alone is not possible, and as the disease progresses, many people find it difficult to swallow food or drink.
When people die of dementia, the death is usually caused by another condition, not the dementia itself.
Part Of You Dies As Well’: The Toll Of Caring For Loved Ones With Dementia
People with late-stage dementia are particularly vulnerable to infections. People who cannot go to the bathroom are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs). For most young people, urinary tract infections are not a problem; infection is more uncomfortable than anything else. But it can be very difficult to detect urinary tract infections in adults with dementia, especially if they have lost the ability to communicate. Sometimes the infection spreads outside the urinary system and causes inflammation and sepsis of the whole body. Sepsis can cause organ failure. Sepsis can be fatal.
Difficulty swallowing, common in late-stage dementia, increases the risk of aspiration pneumonia, or pneumonia caused by accidentally breathing food or liquid into the lungs. Pneumonia can also progress and cause death. Most people who die of Alzheimer’s disease die of aspiration pneumonia.
An infected ulcer can also lead to death. When people with dementia lose the ability to move, they are often confined to a bed or wheelchair. They cannot move independently, but are prone to skin damage and pressure sores. If the ulcer becomes infected, it can lead to sepsis and death.
Good medical care and treatment can prevent and manage many of these problems. Early diagnosis of urinary tract infections and pneumonia can prevent sepsis. Careful dietary practices can prevent aspiration pneumonia, and regular repositioning and skin care can prevent bedsores. However, as dementia progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to prevent all infections, and in some cases, treating the infection is more stressful than simply allowing the infection to progress, while providing the necessary medications and care to keep the patient comfortable.
Newly Identified Genetic Variant Protects Against Alzheimer’s
People with end-stage dementia who avoid infection may die from dehydration. However, it is important to note that dryness at this stage is not due to neglect. Losing interest in food and water is normal during death. People do not feel hunger or thirst; the body is dead and they cannot respond. According to a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, dehydration and general deterioration are the leading causes of death for dementia patients who live to the final stages.
Many people with dementia have other illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease. Some people die from one of the underlying conditions rather than the brain effects of dementia.
Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN is a registered nurse as the author. He is also the creator of BuildingBoys.net and the creator/co-host of the podcast On Boys: Real Talk about Parenting, Teaching & Reaching the Boys of Tomorrow. Most recently, she is the author of The First-Time Mom’s Guide to Raising Boys: Practical Advice for Your Son’s Formative Years.
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Late Stage Information
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Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking ability and eventually the ability to perform simple tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s disease, the first symptoms appear late in life. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 6 million Americans, most of whom are 65 or older, may have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is now the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of dementia among the elderly.
Dementia is the loss of cognitive function – thinking, remembering and reasoning – and behavioral ability to the extent that it interferes with daily life and activities. Dementia varies in severity from the mildest stage, when it begins to affect a person’s activities, to the most severe stage, when a person has to rely heavily on others for help with basic daily activities.
The causes of dementia can vary depending on the type of brain changes that may occur. Other forms of dementia include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. Most people have mixed dementia – a combination of two or more dementias. For example, some people have Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer’s saw changes in the brain tissue of a woman who died of an unusual mental illness. Symptoms include memory loss, language problems and unpredictable behavior. After she died, they examined her brain and found many abnormal wrinkles (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles or tau).
These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between neurons in the brain. Neurons send messages between different parts of the brain and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body.
When Patients Choose To End Their Lives
Researchers continue to unravel the complex brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Changes in the brain can begin ten years or more before symptoms appear. During this early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, toxic changes occur in the brain, including abnormal protein deposits that form amyloid plaques and tau bundles. Previously healthy neurons stop working, lose connections with other neurons and die. Many other complex brain changes are also thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
First, damage is seen in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, parts of the brain important for the formation of memories. As more neurons die, other parts of the brain suffer and begin to shrink. In the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, damage has spread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
Memory problems are usually the first signs of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). People with MCI have more memory problems than the normal age group, but the symptoms do not interfere with their daily life. Mobility difficulties and problems with the sense of smell are also associated with MCI. Older people with MCI have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but not all. Some may return to normal cognition.
The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease vary from person to person. For many, declines in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word finding, visual/spatial problems, and impaired judgment or reasoning, may signal the early stages of the disease. Researchers study biomarkers (biological markers of disease found in images of the brain, cerebrospinal fluid and blood) to detect early changes.
How Bruce Willis’ Diagnosis Of Frontotemporal Dementia Differs From Alzheimer’s Disease
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